Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A new beginning

I will begin a new chapter in life comes January 4, 2010. I am joining Malaysia's largest English daily, The Star, as its full time reporter based in Sibu.

While in lower secondary school Datuk Clement Hii and I had started contributing to The Borneo Bulletin to earn some extra cash. The Borneo Bulletin was a Brunei based English weekly very popular in East Malaysia in those days.Both of us ended up working with the now defunct Sarawak Herald after leaving school.The ill-fated paper only survived for about 3 years. Later I joined The Borneo Bulletin while Datuk Hii served as the Editor-In-Chief of The Borneo Post. He went on to have his own paper, The Malaysian Mirror and also published a host of magazines,covering politics and development in Sarawak , Sabah and Brunei.

Fast forward to 2008. In November of 2008, while having a drink together at Kuching Hilton, Datuk Hii disclosed to me that he was in the process of joining the board of The Star. I was surprised, but I believed in his words because of his earlier successful business manoeuvres especially in the listing of Segi University College which made him the CEO and his entry as Group Managing Director of another listed company, Ecofirst Consolidated Bhd.

Datuk Hii made national headlines when he was made Deputy Executive Chairman of The Star in January 2009. He also became the 2nd man from Sibu, Sarawak, to helm an influencial national daily. The 1st man is Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King who controls the largest Chinese daily in the country, Sin Chew Jit Poh.

I was invited to contribute to The Star around March this year. From May onwards,each month The Star's Metro section publishes 3-4 feature stories I wrote about people,culture and tourism in Sarawak and Sabah.

In October I attended an interview in Kuching for the post of Journalist after the management decided to publish The Star Sarawak Edition in early 2010. Subsequently I was accepted and will report to duty on January 4, 2010.

It has been some 20 years that I have not worked as a salary man. It is going to be a challenging job but I will strive to be a reporter with conscience, writing without fear or favour.

Happy New Year to all friends and readers here. May you be blessed with good health,good luck, good fortune and happiness throughout the year and beyond.

The above picture was taken with Datuk Hii when we were at the Sarawak Herald.

Reunited after 40 years

Graduation group photo taken at the end of 1969. Our class actually had 53 students, but only 45 sat for the primary six examination because 8 of them could not make it due to family problems.

27 classmates of class of 69 of Dung Sang Primary School turned up last Saturday evening (26/12) for our 2nd reunion in 40 years. The last reunion was 10 years ago, also in December, 1999. This time we had several classmates whom we had not met since leaving primary school 40 years ago.Together with us were 3 former teachers and Chairman of the school board of directors.

Hii Yii Ann was in awe to see teacher Mr. Wong Teck Sing still looking young! Yii Ann is a successful businessman with operations in Malaysia and PNG.

Teacher Madam Ngu Ing Soong (seated right) is now 80 years old. She is seen here greeting her former colleague Mr. Lau Hing Tung. Also seated are teachers Mr. Wong Teck Sing and Kapitan Ting Lung Pew.

Trying to identify each other....most of us have never met Madam Wong Swee Toh since leaving primary school. From right: Andrew Wong, Wong Leh Hee, Wong Swee Toh, Wong Pak Leung, and Wong Tiong Kai. Andrew is Operations Manager with San Hin Group of companies based in KK, Sabah. Pak Leung is now with Nice Construction, Sibu. Tiong Kai is CEO of Laku Management based in Miri.

Sisterly hug...Wong Yiun Sien and Wong Swee Toh.

From right: Ling Ung Moi (with United Daily Press in Miri) Wong Swee Toh ( in Marudi ) Wong Yiun Sien (With Samling Group in Miri) Tie Cheng Huong (Sibu) and Wong Leh Hee (Miri).

From right: Lee Leh Kiong, Hii Leng Kiong and Wong Hua Ing...all in Sibu.

From left: Cheng Toh Kwong ( school headmaster in Durin) sharing a joke with Ling Ung Moi, Wong Tuon Kai, Andrew Wong and Wong Sing Chuon (school headmaster in Sibu).

Toh Kwong (left) trying to remember the names of these 3 female classmates.

From right: Ting Nguk Ting (Sibu), Tie Cheng Huong and Lau Hieng Mee (Brunei).
Had a fun but difficult time trying to identify each other in the old photo.

Wong Pak Leung updating contact information of all classmates. At right is Hii King Fong (sibu).

Seated from right are Wong Tai Ton, Ling Kuok Seng , Ngu Wu Loong and Wong Sie Ping. Standing are Thomas Ting , Andrew Wong and Cheng Toh Kwong.

Lau Sie Hee rushed back to attend the reunion from Australia. She is a successful QS based in Kuching.

Wong Sing Chuon addressing the classmates and teachers before dinner started.

Lots of cheers, lots of laughter and very good interation..............

More than enough good food and free flow of beer and drinks.

Each table had an expensive empurau fish.

These 3 guys were not only classmates but also neighbours. They are from right, Steven Tiong, Wong Tiong Kai and Wong Ngie Chiok. Steven has his own business in Sibu and Ngie Chiok is with the oil and gas industry in Miri.

And amidst the laughters and joy, we didn't forget to contribute to our alma mater.Rm50,000 was raised from all classmates for the school extension. A new class room will be named after Class of 1969. Steven Tiong, organizing chairman of the reunion dinner was seen here presenting the cheque to Penghulu Wong Kah Sing who is Chairman of the school Board.

The school board and former teachers were all impressed by our donation. Beside heaping praises on us, they also urged other former students to donate generously to the school building fund.

Age is catching up, very fast, on all of us. How many more 10 years do we have? Several of us who married young have already become grandfather and grandmother! And those serving in the public and private sectors will retire in a few years' time. The suggestion that we should hold reunion more regularly, perhaps bi-annually, has been well received. I take this opportunity to wish all former primary school classmates happy new year, good health and may god bless you and your family always.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Serious erosion and siltation on the Rajang

Will the longest river in Malaysia,the 560km Rajang,be chocked to death by tons and tons of wood debris, domestic and industrial wastes as well as the serious siltation?The above pictures were taken along the Rajang near Kapit, Kanowit and Sibu. Full story in The Star http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2009/12/7/southneast/5242562&sec=southneast

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Malay and Iban outnumber Chinese students in rural schools

Last month I travelled to Maludam in Betong Division, specifically to meet the headmaster of SJK Chung Hua, Maludam, Mr. Lai Ngit Sin ( red shirt in above photo). While there I was very well taken care of by Mr. Lai who is extremely friendly and hospitable.Two days ago Mr. Lai together with some of his colleagues and also a group of primary six pupils paid a brief visit to Sibu.I was very happy to have an opportunity to reciprocate his hospitality. With them were also the headmaster, teachers and some primary six pupils of SJK Chung Hua,Roban.
The Sibu tour was educational and also fun for the group.We visited Jubilee Park, Civic Centre's Heritage Museum, Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum, Wong Nai Siong Memorial Garden and an ostrich farm.

The majority of the group's 22 pupils are Malay and Iban who study in the 2 rural Chinese schools.Every where we went people were amazed by these Chinese-speaking bumiputra, each of them also has a Chinese name.

Here are some photos showing the bumiputra students at SJK Chung Hua, Maludam.

A story highlighting SJK Chung Hua, Maludam, has recently been published in The Star. For further reading please click the following link.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort

The success story of a self-made millionaire who owns and operates the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort at KM36, Miri-Bintulu Road. (Photos 3, 4 & 5 are provided by the resort)
To learn more about Henry Law and his resort, click the following link.